Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and God.

seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and God.

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
I am getting to a place where I felt putting my thoughts on paper would make sense to clarify my own mind.  I am sharing it here for folks inclined to to shoot holes in it and engage in debate.  Any feeback and interaction would be appreciated.  I know that this is but one metaphor. 


The human brain, it turns out, really is a neural network governed by the laws of physics.  Who would have guessed?  This seems like it is impossible as we experience a world of seemingly supernatural meaning, full of drama, joy, insights and suffering.  These experiences seem like they are happening to someone - ourselves - and it is the apparent supernaturalness of ourselves that imbue the experiences with importance and consequence.  When the activity of the mind is understood as a naturally occurring phenomenon and not as the experience of a supernatural self,  the changing field of stimuli through the senses loses meaning and importance and the brain stops fabricating disatisfaction.  This is what people have described as nirvana.  The brain can experience nirvana with out the fabrication of a relative reality, but it can also see nirvana in any of the meaningless, but achingly beautiful, realities that might arise. 


 From what I can see, this is how it works: 
 

From the view of a buddha grounded in consenual reality and newtonian physics:  Nothing is really happening.   This body and brain are natural phenomenon and the concept that they are in any way seperate from everything that exists is only a fleeting pattern of neurons.  No one is in charge and nothing is wrong.  I am that I am.   


From the view of a newtonian physicist:  

Electrons are moving around for no reason according to the laws of physics.  All mental activity is empty of meaning or consequence.  No one is in charge and nothing is wrong.  Is is. 


From the view of an evolutionary biologist:

The human nervous system is the result of hundreds of millions  of years of evolution through which the simple aversion response to a negative stimuli in a single celled animal grew more and more complex until a highly complex  LSTM (this is a thing in machine learning that I think every meditator should understand - google it!)   neural network evolved.  This network is capable of being conditioned or trained to find paths through situations to achieve dynamic goals.  One can take a human nervous system and apply stimuli to it to get the nervous system to behave in ways the biologist desires.  It works the same as a worm or a fruit fly, but at a higher level of complexity allowing for more complex behaviors and inputs.   

A very top level understanding of how this works- each time a new goal is trained into a nervous system by some combination of internal and external stimuli, the brain spawns a new thread to pursue that goal.  One aspect of each of these threads is a tensing of a network of nerves in the body and generally the more important the goal seems and the more distant achieving it appears, the more tension is produced in the the body related to that thread.  

This tension is then kept in the body until the goal is achieved or abandoned completely (let go of/resolved).  Tension is also stored if certain conditions arise which cause the mind to want to remember and avoid repeating a traumatic experience.  This tension in the body is then read as a map of what is important and what needs to be done by the system.  It is the scroll that goes through the player piano of the human nervous system.  These threads and their associated nervous tension are felt as stories or narratives inside the human mind.  As nerves tense and relax in response to stimuli, thoughts and "feelings" arise in the humand mind and the body moves around trying to relax the nerves by solving each threads problems in an order determined by a complex scheduling system which involves feedback loops and environmental triggers.  No one is really in charge and nothing is really wrong.   A human is a complex form of life that is not intrinsically different from a tree.  

From the view of normal human experience:

Stage 1:  I am a character inside of a story.  The story is my life.  I am fucking it up and scared and my intuition often tells me that bad things are happening or about to happen.  Sometimes, I experience states of grace where the anxiety abates and I am just present. I remember that used to happen alot more when I was a kid.  I really want to solve all my problems so i can get back to that state of grace.  

Stage 2:  My mind seems to be out of my control.  Things arise and pass away with out my input.  Alot of what arises sucks and is painful, but if I sit through it long enough I will find happiness. 

Stage 3:  My mind seems to be out of anyones control.  Things arise and pass away, but I can see that they are all the same, even if I am not always aware of it.  When I can - not respond to stimuli, I will be free and happy. 

Stage 4.   States of mind arise and pass away just like phenomenon in the mind do.  No one is in control and nothing is really wrong.  If I could just stop thinking I am something important, I would always be free and happy. 

Stage 5.   States of mind arise and pass away meaninglessly.  The body quivers.  There is all this love. 

Stage 6.  States of mind dance upon a flowerbed of beauty.  I am the universe when I am clear. 

Stage 7.  The body quivers, the mind bangs around, no reason not to love, no way not to be.  All the interior spaces where a self is feeling -are empty fabrications.  I have imagined a string that binds these interior moments into a being, but it was always a delusion. 

Stage 8.  Past boundaries - Mu motherfucker.  The mind glimpses reality. 

Stage 9.  Seeing perfection, meat is mu and mu is meat. 

Past stage 9, I think the materialist metaphor stops being useful. 
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Andromeda, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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IMHO, rational materialism+God+verbal thought=a bad idea. God-based meditation techniques are waaaay more fun. I'm just sayin'! =D

I read The Cloud of Unknowing a few months ago and have been playing with stuff from that. It's an anonymous 14th century Christian mysticism text, apparently describing what the Desert Father hermits used to do in Egypt around 3rd century AD. Good times!
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Hey Adromeda, 

My experience has been that achieving mind states that one would describe as mystical or spiritual is possible and can be achieved most rapidly through devotional practices in which ones uses their absolute faith in God's love to let go and merge with the GodHead.   This is the same state that i describe as nirvana.  The problem is that it doesnt make sense in the everyday world.  My project has been to explain this experience to myself in a way that always makes sense and is apparent so that I am always in that state, no matter what arises.  This project has lead me to see that there is no me, just this.  So now the mind is working to have a single framework in which to operate, a single metaphysics/physics in which to exist.  So this is a through line that allows the mind to let whatever behavior or thought or stimuli that arises, arise, with out losing sight of the fact that this is just meaningless meat.  In a world with out doers and with out meaning, the mind is free to let go and merge with the godhead - or really stop fabricating a reality that is pointless.   It also permits the mind to see real things happening in the physical world and yet not produce aversion.  To produce only love because whatever it sees is This and This is God and when faced with God, the human mind produces love.   So that is some pretty far out mind states to normalize into a sane, everyday , grounded in consenual reality mind.  I think this paradigm does it.  What do you think? 
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curious, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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I like it.  I just wonder if there are multiple bits to the mind, from the evoluationary biology point of view - the memory networks, the feedback mechanism, the conceptual problem solving, and then the non-conceptual mind.  Andromeda might be talking more about dwelling the non-conceptual mind.   Might need both?   
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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What appears to me is not two distinct "worlds" but just this one existence/stream of experience with characteristics of duality and non-duality. Both of those attributes exist solely in the mind. There is nothing "outside" of the mind.

JMHO, of course.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Yeah, that is one metaphor for emptiness and one I have spent a lot of time using, but I have found that i feel much more concretely present using the meat metaphor for emptiness.  Using all mind, I found it hard to be very deep in meditation and then have to jump up and interact with people.   Using meat, it just always makes sense.  That is why I propose it.  I am sure it is not a problem for some folks, but it was for me.  I have also found that it engages parts of the brain that could not process the all mind metaphor for whatever reason - conditioning - so the mind feels really integrated and normal rather than special and kind of outside of consenual reality.  Does that make sense? Do you see any downsides? 
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Andromeda, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Personally, I think it works better to shift between multiple paradigms. I've tried lumping it all into one, but it wasn't doing my sanity or processing power any favors. Here's why.

1. Language can be a cage for thought. God simply doesn't fit into words, which is why the mystical experience is often defined by its very ineffability. Parables and poetry do the best job, but even here it is more of a pointing that happens than any real definition. 

2. Cutting edge science--especially brain science, which is in its infancy, and genetics which isn't that much further along--is changing and producing more data at an exponential rate. And then there's the fact that in science, much of what we THINK we know is wrong, but we don't know which parts. Even what we actually do know is a miniscule drop in the bucket of what is. So any scientific paradigm will have to be updated very frequently to be of reasonable accuracy and utility. That's going to be time-consuming enough even if you limit it to just rational materialism, but if you also trying to combine it with one's perpetually evolving relationship to and understanding of God there will be all sorts of bugs to iron out constantly. So even if you nail down a paradigm that works, it will just be a snapshot of a moment in time that will quickly be outdated with new additional insights and scientific research. What a chore to keep rebuilding that!

In my experience, one paradigm is mixing modalities that just don't play very nice together. I'm a bit of a masochist, but even I have my limits! emoticon 

For me, God makes sense all the time, in everyday life, and I don't feel any conflict or need to explain any of it. Most of the time, any attempts to do so just result in getting tangled up in conceptual thought and so I don't do that any more (been there, done that)--as curious points out, the non-conceptual mind is a better tool for the job. It's all mind anyway, and so we might as well just go with whatever organizational schema or models that are most user friendly if we feel the need to organize it.

But that's just me. I liked your inclusion of LSTM, fun stuff there.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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I have found that the letting go of the delusion of actors and consequence causes the mind to see through duality.  My experience up until recently has been that the mind kept switching from seeing emptiness and perfection in meditation and on retreat and being present and bounded with agency and suffering when working or being with the family.   This is an effort to unify the metaphysical context in all circumstances so that the mind can become unified and see meat and god as one.  Does that makes sense? 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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People often say "This is all there is." They're right about that. All the dual/non-dual, God/meat distinctions, maps and metaphors we tend use introduce more dualities into the equation. Dualities that are complicating and don't exist. If you're attempting to figure out the nature of existence by pondering it intellectually I think you're heading into a box canyon. What's going on is not conceptually grok-able. I agree that models help explain things to other people and they're fun to talk about, for sure. But at the end of the day, they're metaphors for that which is actually not conceptually understandable.
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Andromeda, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Chris Marti:
What's going on is not conceptually grok-able. I agree that models help explain things to other people and they're fun to talk about, for sure. But at the end of the day, they're metaphors for that which is actually not conceptually understandable.

This. It seems to me most of the lip flapping over models is really just entertainment, a sort of party game for meditators, but at the end of the day it's little more than intellectual masturbation. Lest I be a hairy-palmed hypocrite, I'll admit to having done my share of this myself! It can be a lot of fun. But models can't replace doing the work of vipassana and often create unnecessary confusion and conflict. IMO, best to not take them too seriously or waste a lot of precious time (which could be better spent practicing) on them.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Thanks for the feedback.  I imagine I am now beating a dead horse, so I apologize, but this back and forth is helpful for me.  

I find that the mind has a physical and metaphysical framework with in which it fabricates a reality and a narrative when engaged in day to day activities e.g. gravity, morality, etc.  Absent one, it is in the Unfabricated.  My mind skips around from framework to framework depending on the conditions.  I have found that when sutured into a particular framework, it is difficult to conceive of others.  Do you not have that experience?  In my view, it results in the kind of paradox of seeing the emptiness of self and yet still suffering that you have been arguing is  unavoidable.  The whole meat metaphor is an effort to not have the framework shift to more delusional ones when stimuli trigger reactions.  

The goal being to let things arise and hold the framework steady while interpreting what arises in the context of that framework.  Holding "all mind" steady, everything is empty and mind.  I found that to be like holding a fusion plasma, it works for a bit but my mind lets go of it when my daughter cries or a check bounces, etc.  "all meat" has been much more stable for me, because it makes common sense even in those conditions.   
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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I will amend that to say that I can hold all mind steady in day to day life, but then when I lose mindfulness some, I feel distant and depersonalized and fear of those states holds the nervous system back from complete release. 
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Andromeda, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:
I will amend that to say that I can hold all mind steady in day to day life, but then when I lose mindfulness some, I feel distant and depersonalized and fear of those states holds the nervous system back from complete release. 
Have you tried simply investigating the sensations that make up the feelings of distance and depersonalization? They're scary, but they're just sensations, as is the fear. Trying to conceptualize your way around them is creating a barrier when you could be getting right in there and directly observing. That's good, meaty stuff to work with.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:

I find that the mind has a physical and metaphysical framework with in which it fabricates a reality and a narrative when engaged in day to day activities e.g. gravity, morality, etc.  Absent one, it is in the Unfabricated.  My mind skips around from framework to framework depending on the conditions.  I have found that when sutured into a particular framework, it is difficult to conceive of others.  Do you not have that experience?  In my view, it results in the kind of paradox of seeing the emptiness of self and yet still suffering that you have been arguing is  unavoidable.  The whole meat metaphor is an effort to not have the framework shift to more delusional ones when stimuli trigger reactions.  

The goal being to let things arise and hold the framework steady while interpreting what arises in the context of that framework.  Holding "all mind" steady, everything is empty and mind.  I found that to be like holding a fusion plasma, it works for a bit but my mind lets go of it when my daughter cries or a check bounces, etc.  "all meat" has been much more stable for me, because it makes common sense even in those conditions.   

Is there a framework in the space between thoughts or strings of narrative, or just "this" and "now"? It's the thinking mind that is generating the suffering - absent that, who is there to suffer, or what to suffer with? 

The frameworks are just another attempt by "self" to solidify experiencing into a story about "you" again, and create artificial boundaries where there aren't any. The need to hold anything is illusory. What you want is underneath the illusion of "doing". The truly uncontrived and unconstructed mind is spacious and quiet. It is merely awareness. You can work to bring uncontrived mind to all activities by practicing maintaining open awareness in all situations. Start with easy ones, like when you go walking outside, or driving the car, then spread it out to moments where you get up from a chair or desk to do a task. Then include it with seeing people and saying hello as you walk by. Eventually you can have whole conversations, or even deal with emergencies in quiet, uncontrived mind.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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When you are doing something, why are you doing it?  What is the story that the mind is telling itself when you cross the street or eat a sandwhich.  Not verbally or in thought, but the background assumptions about what is real and what is happening? 

For me, when I watch closely, those background assumptions or frameworks shift as situations seems to arise.  A framework of just emptiness or just This becomes the context when in meditation or mindfully interacting, but it is replaced by other frameworks when subconscious narratives are triggered, even very subtle ones, and the mind begins to fabricate interior spaces where a self is having feelings about a situation.  It is difficult, for this brain, to travel from a stressed out delusional framework to just emptiness rapidly.  I need to meditate or take some time to make such a radical revision in world view in the face of the apparent suffering occurring.  Since I have switched to just meat, the mind defaults back to a world view of emptiness almost instantly and fewer and fewer interior spaces are being fabricated and for shorter and shorter periods of time.  No matter how lost the mind gets in narrative, it can comprehend the just meat context much easier than the just mind or the just empty contexts.  I see them all as pointing at the same "reality" that is beyond conceptual description and so interchangeable. 
I've really appreciated your fleshing out of this metaphor over time, and it seems like a rock-solid gateway into emptiness for you. Its particular strengths include being grounded / earthy / somatic (since Emptiness often leads to disembodiment / floatiness / etc) and unpretentious.  The continuous reference to meat potentially reminds one that we are animals (at least it does for me). 

Some thoughts come to mind:

The bulk of your metaphor is earthy, weighty, animalistic, potentially nihilistic, matter-of-factly, etc., but then you drop in Love and God into the equation with less detail.  It seems like you might be using these as shorthands so that others may understand you better or that they simply and totally articulate your experience. But why do you suppose Love is such a strong feature, which seems contrary to the mechanistic processes of the body? What does God mean in relation to meat?
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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[quote=]

The bulk of your is  metaphor is earthy, weighty, animalistic, potentially nihilistic, matter-of-factly, etc., but then you drop in Love and God into the equation with less detail.  It seems like you might be using these as shorthands so that others may understand you better or that they simply and totally articulate your experience. But why do you suppose Love is such a strong feature, which seems contrary to the mechanistic processes of the body? What does God mean in relation to meat?

[quote=]


I really appreciate these considered comments.  I think you have put your finger on a hang up still kicking around in my mind.  Loving seems like it requires a self and while the mind is inclined, even eager to let go of self myths when confronted with other "feelings", it wants to love and be loved and is just fine having a self if that is all that is happening.  So the nihilistic rationalist mind kind of allows the one love self or Christ self to keep being fabricated and I think you picked up on that subtext.  Does that make sense? 

My understanding:
From the perspective of a rational materialist buddha, love is the word we use in english for complete nonaversion.   When the brain is free of any disatisfaction at all about someone or something, it loves it.  Since all aversion is a conditioned response of the neural network, a purely rational brain would not produce aversion and so would love everything and everyone with out limit.  If this brain then let go of the delusion of a self with agency it would still feel love and this meaty stew is seen, rationally, as all requited love.  It is that step that seems apparent to me, but I dont think I explain well.  Any ideas? 

If the brain then let go of boundaries and seperations, then rationally, This can also be described as an unbounded undifferentiated being of requited love and the English word for that is, i think, God.  

Is that a satisfying response? I dont think I have wrapped words around it cleanly enough yet.  
seth tapper:

I really appreciate these considered comments.  I think you have put your finger on a hang up still kicking around in my mind.  Loving seems like it requires a self and while the mind is inclined, even eager to let go of self myths when confronted with other "feelings", it wants to love and be loved and is just fine having a self if that is all that is happening.  So the nihilistic rationalist mind kind of allows the one love self or Christ self to keep being fabricated and I think you picked up on that subtext.  Does that make sense? 

My understanding:
From the perspective of a rational materialist buddha, love is the word we use in english for complete nonaversion.   When the brain is free of any disatisfaction at all about someone or something, it loves it.  Since all aversion is a conditioned response of the neural network, a purely rational brain would not produce aversion and so would love everything and everyone with out limit.  If this brain then let go of the delusion of a self with agency it would still feel love and this meaty stew is seen, rationally, as all requited love.  It is that step that seems apparent to me, but I dont think I explain well.  Any ideas? 

If the brain then let go of boundaries and seperations, then rationally, This can also be described as an unbounded undifferentiated being of requited love and the English word for that is, i think, God.  

Is that a satisfying response? I dont think I have wrapped words around it cleanly enough yet.  

Your explanation of the conflict between the rational mind and the one self / Christ mind makes sense.

I'm following your point on non-aversion, though what gives it the distinct flavor of love rather than equanimity?  Any comments on how the phenomena that we call love arises and relates to the energy body?

If we're sticking within a rational paradigm, perhaps we may consider that the universe is ever-expanding. As meat, our biological imperative is to procreate. Given the presence of what we're calling love, which we may refer to as joy or bliss, we could consider that the act of creation (whether as embodied in insight, in relationship, in producing art) is an inherently loving process reflected all throughout reality and experience.  Growth is pleasurable.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Upon reflection, it is clear to me now that I have been hanging onto a sense of self related to love and it caused me to subconsciously mix my metaphors in my own mind and in the description above.  From a rational materialist view,  aversion is how the mind reads tension in the nervous system and love is how the mind reads nerves in a relaxed state.   The nervous system, by default, is completely relaxed and develops nervous tension and aversions over time (though some aversions are genetically conditioned and so part of the initial state of the nervous system.)   My use of the terms love and god are how this feels inside a human mind, but nothing is really happening but muscles tensing and relaxing due to stimuli, conditioning and genetics. 

This is a pretty significant step into nihilism, but that is what it is.  Probably makes the paradigm a tough sell, but it is a deeply liberating insight for me.  Thanks for the back and forth! 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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This is a pretty significant step into nihilism...

How so?

seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

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Chris Marti:
This is a pretty significant step into nihilism...

How so?


The operating model I have been using was strictly materialist until it came to love and then I have been hanging onto the specialness of that experience.  Now it is just meat like everything else.  A view that holds everything empty, but love, is beautiful, but just as delusional as any other.  It has been like the last hand hold before free fall.  Selfless universal love is more fun to imagine than nerve endings firing at random. 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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I cringe when I see people in Buddhism misrepresent it as nihilistic. To me, this is nihilism:

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism 

that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. 


https://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

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Yeah, really accepting the radical emptiness of every conceptual framework seems like it would lead to these kinds of negative mind states, but we both know it doesnt.   I am a nihilist because nothing exists and I am trying to not be delusional and live in a reality I invent.  
I think really, it is the hours and hours of time spent in non dualish states and seeing that they dont suck that is giving my brain the confidence to release the idea of love at long last.   
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:
Yeah, really accepting the radical emptiness of every conceptual framework seems like it would lead to these kinds of negative mind states, but we both know it doesnt.   I am a nihilist because nothing exists and I am trying to not be delusional and live in a reality I invent.  
I think really, it is the hours and hours of time spent in non dualish states and seeing that they dont suck that is giving my brain the confidence to release the idea of love at long last.   
There still might be one emptiness you aren't accepting.

Nihilism can only take place in duality. Real nihilism requires some "one" to find the universe meaningless. This is a "self". The "self" or witness that in some perspectives seems to be watching this universe is illusory. What you are is what ALL of this is. You can't be, and have never been separate from what you are experiencing. 

In the space between thoughts is there a Seth, or a nihilism to witness?
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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There still might be one emptiness you aren't accepting. 

For me this was true. It just wasn't visible for a long time. No matter what I did, thought, studied, meditated on or talked to teachers about it just wouldn't come. I kept asking others, "What am I not seeing that you can see?" I could understand what they told me. I had the intellectual stuff down pat and I felt as if I was awake. But others were certain, even adamant - I was not.

Then one day it just clicked and everything was different.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

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Chris Marti:
There still might be one emptiness you aren't accepting. 

For me this was true. It just wasn't visible for a long time. No matter what I did, thought, studied, meditated on or talked to teachers about it just wouldn't come. I kept asking others, "What am I not seeing that you can see?" I could understand what they told me. I had the intellectual stuff down pat and I felt as if I was awake. But others were certain, even adamant - I was not.

Then one day it just clicked and everything was different.
Right. What does emptiness of separateness/not two/One mean? Does it mean all people are one awareness? Does it mean that all THINGS and people are awareness? Does it mean that even time and the illusory space between things is awareness? Does it mean NONE of those things are things at all? If you draw a line around separateness, you are just creating another illusory fence in the infinite. Still clinging.

It is amazing how many times you get caught out as the full scope of it expands.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Chris Marti:
There still might be one emptiness you aren't accepting. 

For me this was true. It just wasn't visible for a long time. No matter what I did, thought, studied, meditated on or talked to teachers about it just wouldn't come. I kept asking others, "What am I not seeing that you can see?" I could understand what they told me. I had the intellectual stuff down pat and I felt as if I was awake. But others were certain, even adamant - I was not.

Then one day it just clicked and everything was different.

+1
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Nah, there is no seth to kick around anymore.  Your comment about ladders I think is a way of thinking about what I am talking about.  In a cave, it doesnt really matter.  One can sit and just be and is just is.  In everyday life, the mind is so full of narrative - both conscious, subconscious and implicit- that it needs some framework to comprehend how narrative and that apparent manifestness of self can arise in  emptiness.  At least the one typing here seems to.  The two most popular frameworks are just mind and just god, but neither seems to explain why a small ice coffee costs $5.50 in manhattan.  Just meat allows it all to make sense for me in a single framework from the nitty grtiitiest stuff all the way to the unfabricated.  

Holding onto Love has always been the secret I kept from myself.  Like taking a $500 bill in monopoly and sticking it under the board so you wont spend it.  Dance on in your various adventures, my brain seemed to say, I know love is real and all the nonsense is irrelevant.  Letting go of love, despite it being so manifest in this mind, is where reality lies with out boundary.  It took all this purification and intensity to just get clear enough to allow the concept to even reach consciousness. 

This may all be unique to my own particular stream of conditioning, but that is what is happening to this nervous system. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:
In everyday life, the mind is so full of narrative - both conscious, subconscious and implicit- that it needs some framework to comprehend how narrative and that apparent manifestness of self can arise in  emptiness.  

As long as there is a framework, there is no complete emptiness. 

Holding onto Love has always been the secret I kept from myself.  Like taking a $500 bill in monopoly and sticking it under the board so you wont spend it.  Dance on in your various adventures, my brain seemed to say, I know love is real and all the nonsense is irrelevant.  

I get that. After the Stream Entry honeymoon was over, I couldn't get how everything could be non-separate, and yet I still had the experience of a me looking at it, and the frame of me as a watcher around it all to define it. The only thing I knew to do - indeed what I was DRIVEN to do - was to maintain my Rigpa/empty awareness as best I could at all times. It had become so much easier. Then there was a day while sitting, where there was a hot feeling in the middle of my skull, and like a mantra the recurring sentence, "Untie the knot, untie the knot, untie the knot". I went to bed, and woke up with no watcher. From there, maybe once every month since, there has been some obvious shift.

In everyday life, the mind is so full of narrative - both conscious, subconscious and implicit- that it needs some framework to comprehend how narrative and that apparent manifestness of self can arise in  emptiness.  At least the one typing here seems to.

That's what is in your way. You DON'T need narrative. Everything you do can be done without the thinking mind in the way. Honest. I'd start with making dinner without thought, walking around without it - driving without out it. Then you find you can talk to people in a hallway without it, have conversations with a partner without it - everything. It only narrates what you are doing, it isn't making the decisions. 

If you believe science you have never been deciding and that the narrative has only ever followed your actions:

https://www.wired.com/2008/04/mind-decision/

The two most popular frameworks are just mind and just god, but neither seems to explain why a small ice coffee costs $5.50 in manhattan.

...because they are frameworks. As Chris says, it just "is". There ARE no reasons, and really, no frameworks, mind, god, small iced coffee, $5.50, or Manhattan... just as there is no "self". There is just this, and what this is is everything. 
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me: my eye and Gods eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." - Meister Eckhart

Letting go of love, despite it being so manifest in this mind, is where reality lies with out boundary.  It took all this purification and intensity to just get clear enough to allow the concept to even reach consciousness. And yet there IS love, as Eckhart suggests - or something deeper, but similar. Not love as we have known it, but the love that is being inseparable from the moment and letting it flow through you unimpeded. emoticon

I am deeply impressed with your openness and depth, Seth. I never had the drive or guts to do that here when I really could have used it.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Hey Stirling, 

Thanks for the feedback and your obvious compassion.  I am not sure if I am missing your point or if I am not explaining what is happening in my mind well.  My brain seems to produce mind states moment by moment in response to stimuli and sometimes those mind states are with out owner or consequence and sometimes those mind states seem to be interior to some self and feature meaning and apparent consequence for that self.  Over time the statistical probability that the brain will produce a type 1 mind state has grown and the probability that it will produce a type II one has declined.  As it has ping ponged between these types of mind states, it has tried to understand what is happening and produced or consumed various frameworks to make sense of its experience.  These frameworks are all imagined, but this brain cannot produce perception of consenual reality (or even a bespoke reality)  without at least an implicit framework.  It can watch a sunset and produce only type 1 mind states, but it still experiences "sunset".   (Mindstates beyond a fabricated reality also arise, but there is not much to say about them.  The statistical probability that these type 0 mind states arise is also increasing and the disinction between them and type I mind states is decreasing)

Up until now, the production of mind states has been a subconsious affair with the internal experience being more of finding oneself suffering when type II mind states arise and feeling in the flow when type I states arise.   (Here I am using suffering to mean everything from panic to even the slightest disatisfaction).   The implicit frameworks that gave meaning to the field of experience in each mind state seemed like fixed reality in that moment so that when confronted with "sunset", sunsets seem absolutely real.  The result is something like multiple personality disorder in that the type I and type II mindstates arise in all kinds of implicit subconsious frameworks that are often directly contradictory moment to moment.   Inside of a particular framework - real sunset, no self - other mind states make no sense - I am a human who owns a house and am late with my mortgage payments.  

The traditional  strategy is to pick a framework that undercuts type II mindstates completely, but is very removed from the frameworks everyone else is using - e.g all mind, all god, just this , mu.  Given the nature of my experience, embeded in a family and society, these frameworks upped the probability of type I and type 0 mindstates, but kept being wiped away by the conditioning I am subject to from friends, family and work.  The process of switching from whatever more delusional framework the mind found itself in when type II or even apparently Type I experiences with deeply subconsious frameworks (e.g. snuggling my child) arose back to these far out frameworks was difficult and so the mind retreated from strong external amd internal  stimuli that might trigger Type II mind states.  The project of creating a rationalist materialist through line so that the mind can easily default back to seeing emptiness no matter what mind state arises is objectively working, so I am not really asking for advice about whether I should have a rationalist materialist framework.  I am looking for feedback on whether this framework does a good job of explaining the experience of being a human and what I am missing. 

The effort here is to have a simple, grounded, common sense framework that features agencylessness and emptiness so that the brain can stop cycling through various mind states and come to rest once and for all.  
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:
Hey Stirling, 

Thanks for the feedback and your obvious compassion.  
Right back at you, Seth. I admire your seeing on many of the things you post, and have had at LEAST one of them push things forward for me. It feels like you are quite close to some great insight, and I want to help if I can. 

My brain seems to produce mind states moment by moment in response to stimuli and sometimes those mind states are with out owner or consequence and sometimes those mind states seem to be interior to some self and feature meaning and apparent consequence for that self.  Over time the statistical probability that the brain will produce a type 1 mind state has grown and the probability that it will produce a type II one has declined.  As it has ping ponged between these types of mind states, it has tried to understand what is happening and produced or consumed various frameworks to make sense of its experience. 

Makes sense to me, and is certainly how things progressed here, though the idea of "brain" is sticky for me as I think of it - I just tend to think of it as the "thinking process".

These frameworks are all imagined, but this brain cannot produce perception of consenual reality (or even a bespoke reality)  without at least an implicit framework.  It can watch a sunset and produce only type 1 mind states, but it still experiences "sunset".   (Mindstates beyond a fabricated reality also arise, but there is not much to say about them.  The statistical probability that these type 0 mind states arise is also increasing and the disinction between them and type I mind states is decreasing)
I would say stop producing the perception of consensual reality. Drop the framework when it arises. Live with an uncontrived mind. 

I only see there being a relative view of reality (II) and an absolute view (I) - that is, a world of things and people vs. the world of "this" and Now. At this point, the relative view occupies about 95% of experiencing, and I am aware that the 5% is merely my not being aware that it is there too. 

For me, the shift has been a constant seeing and realizing points where I still feel I need to try to construct reality/mind. If you can watch a sunset, can you drive seeing reality in absolute mind? If you can drive, can you make dinner? If you can make dinner, can you have a watercooler conversation about weekend plans? What about do your taxes? What about act in an emergency? Be a good father or husband? The truth is, you don't need to fabricate experience with mind to do ANY of these things, and never did. You can just drop the contriving, like letting a thought go IF you notice it.  I found it useful to work at trusting your original understanding of how things are. Realize that you don't HAVE to "do" everything. Test letting things take care of themselves in small areas at first, and then larger areas. 
The effort here is to have a simple, grounded, common sense framework that features agencylessness and emptiness so that the brain can stop cycling through various mind states and come to rest once and for all.  
I guess what I'd say here, is that the traditions I have worked in, Dzogchen and Zen, both work to let go of all manipulation or contriving the mind and just let it do it's thing. My experience is that the mind will naturally settle, as they say in Zen, like muddy water in a jar left to sit. To me, a framework of any kind sounds contrived. My inclination is always to keep it simple - just to let go of thinking process and let it settle into it's own nature again. Is that sort of like what you are suggesting as a "framework"?

Am I understanding you yet? emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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... nerve endings firing at random. 

I don't think that human experience is random. It has elements of randomness and chaos, for sure, but the result of human life isn't void of meaning or existence. What Buddhists mean by using the word "empty" (a fuzzy English translation of a Pali or Sanskrit term) does not refer to the emptiness of meaning or existence, either. 
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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That is not my view.  This shit seems completely empty to me.  I have searched every corner of my mind and reality and can find nothing.  One what basis does your idea of meaning stand? 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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One what basis does your idea of meaning stand? 

Please see my previous comments about awakening and the observation that duality and non-duality are not separate, distinct aspects of experience. If there was literally no meaning how could anything exist at all? It's dualistic to think there are two "realities" we have access to. 

I'd suggest a reading of Nagarjuna:

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

I'd offer that this life is not literally a dream. If you get shot in the head, you die. It's incomplete to say that nothing exists at all, though from some points of view in our practice it can seem that way. That story is compelling so we form a view from it. It's an intellectual view, however. As we discussed before, the reality is something our mind can't actually grasp. It's inscrutable and it just IS.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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I dont disagree with anything you wrote, but I can not find meaning in it.  What does the movement of the stars and the universe mean and to whom?  As far as I can tell, it means nothing to no one.  Which seems to be what you have seen as well, but then you insist on meaning being a real thing.   For instance, the Cavs are getting their ass kicked by the Warriors.   Lets agree that it is actually happening.  Does it have any actual meaning, or is it just a collective meaning that exists only as patterns in our neural networks?  I have exhausted the search of what i can percieve and find no meaning or consequence in anything.  As you say, it just is. 
So you're exploring what this metaphor means and it's bearing fruit. But in your trying to understand emptiness neatly in this one framework, what keeps it from being another perch for the self to rest on? A space that provides a false sense of security (I've figured this out!)? I'm sure you recognize that even this model is highly dualistic.

Back to love - do you see the potential that your relationship to love is what's "problematic" and not love itself?

I ask because you keep mentioning Buddhas instead of arahants, and the latter (to me) seems more appropriate to mention in your metaphor. Buddhas attain complete nonaversion, but is that all there is to them?  I'd assert no, there is more to them then just that.

What is that more than that to you? 
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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lotb:
So you're exploring what this metaphor means and it's bearing fruit. But in your trying to understand emptiness neatly in this one framework, what keeps it from being another perch for the self to rest on? A space that provides a false sense of security (I've figured this out!)? I'm sure you recognize that even this model is highly dualistic.

There is no self to perch on anything.  The brain fabricates a string of interior spaces and then imagines a connection between them and calls it me.  Every mind that is not in the unfabricated is implicitly within a framework through which it perceives reality.  You cant avoid it, because perceiving requires the framework - they create each other.  This is just intentionally choosing the least delusional framework that is functional in daily life.  Why do I want to remain functional in daily life? That is the way I have been conditioned.  In my view, it is delusional and why hermits make more rapid and complete progress than householders.  It is what is happening, however. 

It does give a sense of security, but it isn't false.  Nothing is wrong and insecurity is always delusional.  While the framework itself is imagined, it leads or points to This - at least for me! - theoretically even in the face of war, famine and tragedy.  I have not tested those limits, but I have against the widest array of physical and "emotional" pain as well as anxieties of all shapes and sizes.  No matter what is occuring, I still seem to be made of meat. 
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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[quote=]

Back to love - do you see the potential that your relationship to love is what's "problematic" and not love itself?

I ask because you keep mentioning Buddhas instead of arahants, and the latter (to me) seems more appropriate to mention in your metaphor. Buddhas attain complete nonaversion, but is that all there is to them?  I'd assert no, there is more to them then just that.

What is that more than that to you? 

[quote=]


Love, what is it good for, absolutely nothing - say it again!  

I understand that love is just a concept and my relationship - my clinging - to that concept is what has kept fabricating selves, suffering and delusion long after I had dropped the other nonsense. 

On Buddhas,  here I think we may part company.  I do not know what an arhant is - I have seen so many claims and counter claims, etc, but who cares?  I use the term Buddha because it means to me a fully awakaned mind with no path left to travel.  I think Bill Murray said it best when he said "I am just compost".  That is what a Buddha is and nothing more.  That is a fact.  Ask one! 
seth tapper:

On Buddhas,  here I think we may part company.  I do not know what an arhant is - I have seen so many claims and counter claims, etc, but who cares?  I use the term Buddha because it means to me a fully awakaned mind with no path left to travel.  I think Bill Murray said it best when he said "I am just compost".  That is what a Buddha is and nothing more.  That is a fact.  Ask one! 


Thanks for defining what you mean by a Buddha. Though I expect many would find your definition problematic at least it's clear! emoticon

So one's mind is fully awakened and the path is done...but then what? The historical Buddha went off and taught. 

Perhaps what one does post full awakening is irrelevant to the exploration at hand though.



 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Does it have any actual meaning, or is it just a collective meaning that exists only as patterns in our neural networks? 


You are ever the reductionist!  emoticon

Yes, meaning is what we assign it to be or agree on. Sometimes meaning is shared collectively, sometimes it's internally generated. The signals we all get from our mind processing external stimuli contain meaning. If you're walking down an alley and someone jumps out of the shadows and tells you to put your hands up and hand over your wallet the response isn't random. In mathematics 2 + 2 always equals 4. That's meaning. Look up at the stars. Why did you call them stars?

You can't say "nothing has meaning" and yet use commonly accepted names for objects.

FWIW
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Chris Marti:
Does it have any actual meaning, or is it just a collective meaning that exists only as patterns in our neural networks? 


You are ever the reductionist!  emoticon

Yes, meaning is what we assign it to be or agree on. Sometimes meaning is shared collectively, sometimes it's internally generated. The signals we all get from our mind processing external stimuli contain meaning. If you're walking down an alley and someone jumps out of the shadows and tells you to put your hands up and hand over your wallet the response isn't random. In mathematics 2 + 2 always equals 4. That's meaning. Look up at the stars. Why did you call them stars?

You can't say "nothing has meaning" and yet use commonly accepted names for objects.

FWIW

Somehow we always agree and yet disagree.  I agree with everything you wrote, again! - except the ramifications of it.  If all meaning is invented, then it is optional.   I choose - actually have been conditioned - to like basketball and see no meaning in synchronized swimming at all.  Others have dedicated their lives to that sport!  It is believing that the meaning one perceives is the true meaning and that the flaws, boundaries and consequences that follow from that meaning are real, important and have consequence that causes the mind to fabricate a self and suffering.  No?  
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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It is believing that the meaning one perceives is the true meaning and that the flaws, boundaries and consequences that follow from that meaning are real, important and have consequence that causes the mind to fabricate a self and suffering.  No?  

What is "true meaning?"
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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A Zen story that's appropriate here:

When John Daido Loori was a monk at the Los Angeles Zen Center, he remarked one day to Maezumi Roshi: "I have resolved the question of life and death."

"Are you sure'?" replied Maezumi.

"Yes," replied Loori.

"Are you really sure?"

"Absolutely," 
Loori answered.

With that Maezumi threw himself violently upon Loori and began to strangle him. Gasping for breath, 
Loori struggled to escape, tried to push Maezumi off, but to no avail. Finally, he swung back his fist and struck his teacher, knocking him aside.

Maezurni rose to his feet and brushed himself off.

"Resolved the question of life and death, eh?" he l
aughed, and walked off.

Later Loori, still bearing the marks of his teacher's fingers on his throat, passed a senior monk, Genpo Sensei. On seeing the bruises, Genpo did a double take. "Told Roshi you'd resolved the question of life and death, did you?" he 
said and strode away laughing.

From the book One Bird, One Stone, by Sean Murphy.
Hi, just sharing some refelctions. maybe basic...

When I was on retreat these insights comes to me and helped me a lot to be more free and easy going.

There is suffering but no one is having it
There is pain but no one is having it
There is tension but no one is having it
There is personality but no one having a personality
There are prefences and inclinations, ideas and belifs but no one having them.
There is thoughts about future/past/whatever but no one thinking it.
etc.

They are doing they thing on his own. Sensations reacts to others sensations or thoguths,  thoughts react to other thoughts or sensations with aversion, with joy, with whatever. Any kind of reaction I just that reaction, not big deal.

All this stuff merge togheter and we say : Me!

And...I think is true, maybe I misunderstood Chris when he says that is duality and no duality are the same, Im agree with that. I dont know how to explain it but its like having a computer and looking at the screen, and you say, and image, but if you go deeper you can see pixels, and if you go deep an deep you can see that there are just a progression of 0 and 1 what make this image alive, but that doesnt negate the image what we saw in the frist place,they are two realities coexisting at the same time, and they both real and true, the object and the no-object. For what I saw the more deepest truths are paradoxes that contain their opposite in harmony.

Now just wanting to share, I didnt know to much people doing meditation and less theravada/vipassana emoticon, but keep tracking about sensations and mental phenomena in daily life, I observe that 90% of the sensations are neutral or good, also sensations like tired, or physical tensions can be easy handled and they are no big deal and be with this sensations moment to moment makes you feel...good?, really in the present.  Otherwise mind usually is going jumping past to future or imagination, struggeling with ideas, concepts that are no there, stressing or anxity with diferent things, is sad but in my mind there are still a lot suffering emoticon. When this happen I move atention to the body with the sensation of the moment and everything slow and calm down and all become more easy, the mind relax. 

Well, metta for all, be full of joy and peace emoticon !
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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This made me laugh - in a good way:

I dont disagree with anything you wrote, but I can not find meaning in it. 
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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Chris Marti:
... nerve endings firing at random. 

I don't think that human experience is random. It has elements of randomness and chaos, for sure, but the result of human life isn't void of meaning or existence. What Buddhists mean by using the word "empty" (a fuzzy English translation of a Pali or Sanskrit term) does not refer to the emptiness of meaning or existence, either. 
The comment above is in reply to this. 
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

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I realize I am likely talking to myself now, so I apologize for clogging up DHO, but this is an extension of the last comment. 

The nervous system relaxes as it loses aversion to things and people and states, etc.   The brain kicks into activity and renders a reality in order to solve problems and relax the nervous tension associated with those problems.  The process of "enlightenment" all the way to buddha hood is simply using the brain to directly release conditioned aversions and therefor deepen the nervous systems state of relaxation.  It happens when the brain finds a pathway to this shortcut and that pathway grows more neurologically robust with practice and use - same as learning the violin.   Eventually, when the brain has rid itself of all conditioned aversions, it ceases to have nervous tension at all and lapses into a state of unfabricated mind when no stimulus is applied.   It realizes it is just meat and acts like it. 

That is where the materialist model points at what seems the supernatural.   From the position of the unfabricated, or its foothills, the brain can see that all paradigms and metaphors are conceptual and the ladder is released so the apparent paradox of being both meat and God is seen as not a paradox but kind of obvious.  
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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seth tapper:

The nervous system relaxes as it loses aversion to things and people and states, etc.   The brain kicks into activity and renders a reality in order to solve problems and relax the nervous tension associated with those problems.  The process of "enlightenment" all the way to buddha hood is simply using the brain to directly release conditioned aversions and therefor deepen the nervous systems state of relaxation.  It happens when the brain finds a pathway to this shortcut and that pathway grows more neurologically robust with practice and use - same as learning the violin.   Eventually, when the brain has rid itself of all conditioned aversions, it ceases to have nervous tension at all and lapses into a state of unfabricated mind when no stimulus is applied.   It realizes it is just meat and acts like it.
This is still a model, and thus not is what is happening. All models are built on subject/object relationships, but there AREN'T any in non-duality. It's just a cul de sac to try to use the thinking mind to create an illusory process for what is happening out of illusory separate objects. Does any of that exist in the space between thoughts? Does what I am asking here make sense?
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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No matter how lost the mind gets in narrative, it can comprehend the just meat context much easier than the just mind or the just empty contexts.  I see them all as pointing at the same "reality" that is beyond conceptual description and so interchangeable. 

Sure, the mind feels better and more secure if it thinks it understands something. That's just mind being mind-like and carving out a concept, a metaphor, to explain the unexplainable.

What would happen if you were to drop all of the mental gymnastics and just be? In other words, why kow tow to what mind wants now? You spent years trying to ditch this kind of thing so why let mind trip you up when it comes to explaining your practice? Maybe, just maybe, there are things that have no understandable explanation. Things that can't be squeezed into a neat metaphysical box. This is a practice juncture: how comfortable is the meditator with that kind of uncertainty?

BTW - I'm not aiming this necessarily at you, seth, just stating my own version of how little use intellectual understanding is to get us to deep insight and realization, which are beyond concepts. Your post just gave me entre is all.

emoticon
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

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Chris Marti:


BTW - I'm not aiming this necessarily at you, seth, just stating my own version of how little use intellectual understanding is get us to deep insight and realization, which are beyond concepts. Your post just gave me entre is all.

emoticon

I can claim the attainment of not taking stuff people post on the web personally, so no worries! 

I am thinking about the rest of your post and it make take some time to anwer clearly, but basically this is what my mind is doing and I dont have any control.  It does not want to be uncertain because it can see emptiness without any doubt and wants a way to live always in that knowledge.  Just being works for it on retreat, but collapses in daily life and that has always been the struggle.  
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

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seth tapper:
When you are doing something, why are you doing it?  What is the story that the mind is telling itself when you cross the street or eat a sandwhich.  Not verbally or in thought, but the background assumptions about what is real and what is happening? 

For me, when I watch closely, those background assumptions or frameworks shift as situations seems to arise.  A framework of just emptiness or just This becomes the context when in meditation or mindfully interacting, but it is replaced by other frameworks when subconscious narratives are triggered, even very subtle ones, and the mind begins to fabricate interior spaces where a self is having feelings about a situation.  It is difficult, for this brain, to travel from a stressed out delusional framework to just emptiness rapidly.  I need to meditate or take some time to make such a radical revision in world view in the face of the apparent suffering occurring.  Since I have switched to just meat, the mind defaults back to a world view of emptiness almost instantly and fewer and fewer interior spaces are being fabricated and for shorter and shorter periods of time.  No matter how lost the mind gets in narrative, it can comprehend the just meat context much easier than the just mind or the just empty contexts.  I see them all as pointing at the same "reality" that is beyond conceptual description and so interchangeable. 

Ulimately there is no-one to have a story, or do. There is no sense of being a person in the world making choices and doing things. As Daniel says: 
2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

There is no why, reason, or meaning. Just "happening". 
A framework of just emptiness or just This becomes the context when in meditation or mindfully interacting, but it is replaced by other frameworks when subconscious narratives are triggered, even very subtle ones, and the mind begins to fabricate interior spaces where a self is having feelings about a situation.

It is great to be able to see this is happening. I found that just bringing the emptiness to all situations naturally made it suffuse them, and then had a rather profound path change that included a deep non-doing "experience" that deepened over time. We are convinced that it is necessary to have the "self" negotiate a car sale, or do your taxes, or prepare for meetings, etc., but I found that the more I trusted that I would say and do what I needed to do in an given moment, I just would. Things actually seem to work out BETTER this way, without you in the way. I reread a bunch of Taoism in this time. I'd recommend it. 

Since I have switched to just meat, the mind defaults back to a world view of emptiness almost instantly and fewer and fewer interior spaces are being fabricated and for shorter and shorter periods of time.  No matter how lost the mind gets in narrative, it can comprehend the just meat context much easier than the just mind or the just empty contexts.  I see them all as pointing at the same "reality" that is beyond conceptual description and so interchangeable. 

I think you'll find that even the "meat" concept is just that - a scaffold that you will need to drop to progress. Really, there isn't even that - the body/physics/science/chemistry you think you inhabit is illusory as well.
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curious, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

Posts: 908 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
I've been fascinated by this discussion, thank you everyone.  I like these models as well, so take it all as advice for me too.  I suppose they might vary in their usefulness for people with different learnings styles - but only up to a point.   But I would suggest there are three things they could make them useful, at an intermediate stage, for some people.

1 - Generating motivation to keep pursuiing the dharma.
2 - Something to do to while the mind slowly unifies (much as Culadasa suggests using jhana to while away the time during unification).
3 - Helping to understand the metaphors and the various inaccurate translations that we get from the pali canon.

Those things can be dropped after a point, to just concentrate on pure experience or consciousness or god.  But maybe you have to make a certain amount of progress to act on the advice of doing nothing but being.  And some parts of the models could still be useful at an advanced stage if they become like prayer or mantra ("I am just meat, Karmapa Cheno") and help to trigger a desired state.  

Also, I prefer Seth's complicated plant metaphor.  It really appeals to me. It seems helpfully humbling, while the meat thing seems vaguely disgusting.  I guess I should investigate those emotions ... but first I have to finish my model of how the goal-function in the brain generates karma.  emoticon

{Update: Yep, whaddya know, another layer of self is underlying the aversion to the meat metaphor. Looks like it will be a medium sized job to root out.  Might have to put the model on hold!}
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
[quote=]
I think you'll find that even the "meat" concept is just that - a scaffold that you will need to drop to progress. Really, there isn't even that - the body/physics/science/chemistry you think you inhabit is illusory as well.

Hey Stirling, 

Thank you for the serious feedback.  I know that the meat concept is just a concept.  I could call it all pasta sauce if I chose and it would be equally true.  Since everyone else thinks it is meat with their rational minds, this metaphor is reinforced by everyday experience rather than undermined - at least for me. 

When your mind is clear and empty, why does it try to sell a car?  What does it think is happening?  What happens when it loses mindfulness and get wrapped up in a self and a story?  How does it re find the taoist flow?  (I completely agree with eveything you wrote, I just cant do it 100% of the time and that is where this seems to be headed for me and the meat thing is working really well.) 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

Posts: 600 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
[quote=
seth tapper]
I know that the meat concept is just a concept.  I could call it all pasta sauce if I chose and it would be equally true.  Since everyone else thinks it is meat with their rational minds, this metaphor is reinforced by everyday experience rather than undermined - at least for me. 
Seth,

I think as a conceptual idea it has merit for sure. In Zen there is a ladder up for every student, and that ladder is a one shot deal. This is part of your ladder - and may work great for others too, of course. : )
When your mind is clear and empty, why does it try to sell a car?  What does it think is happening?  

There is no "why". Why is a question generated by the thinking mind that implies meaning or reason. Meaning or reason only make sense  when there are things interacting with things due to forces, etc., or thinking about how these illusory forces are interacting. If you see that all of that is illusory, and there is just this and now, then there is nothing happening. Things look like color and light. When the mind rests in the gap between thoughts, you are in this space.

For me, most of the time, nothing is happening and there is no-one doing anything. The mind is quiet - not thinking about happening at all. Occasional single thoughts arise, but with no narrative/iteration/recursiveness.

The order in which understanding has deepened for me goes something like:
  • One step back, there is car selling happening
  • Another step back, there is witnessing a car being sold by a label/character with my name
  • A further step back, the doing of me selling a car and thinking about how I'm doing it
What happens when it loses mindfulness and get wrapped up in a self and a story?  How does it re find the taoist flow?  (I completely agree with eveything you wrote, I just cant do it 100% of the time and that is where this seems to be headed for me and the meat thing is working really well.) 

You are only as awakened as you are in this moment. When you lose yourself in the story, just realize it without creating a bad feeling about "you" being a bad meditator or any of that (it is a subtle form of reinforcing self) and just reastablish the "view" as they call it in Dzogchen. Get yourself back to your spacious, quiet, awareness. When you are resting in the nature of mind, flow just happens. 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

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There was a stage I went through in which it seemed obvious and clear that I needed to be focused like a laser beam on being mindful at every... single.. waking... moment. Of course, this was exhausting but not completely useless. It was mostly useful in teaching me that being in the flow of each moment, just being present for this life here and now and not complicating it with all the additional urgency and tenseness I was bringing to bear, was more helpful and practice positive. I could relax and be here.

EDIT: There is also the urge to think that in order to be awake you have to be aware that you're awake and pay attention to that all the time. Well, no. That's just adding more process and complication, as well as additional separation from what just is.
 
This:
You are only as awakened as you are in this moment. When you lose yourself in the story, just realize it without creating a bad feeling about "you" being a bad meditator or any of that (it is a subtle form of reinforcing self) and just reastablish the "view" as they call it in Dzogchen. Get yourself back to your spacious, quiet, awareness. When you are resting in the nature of mind, flow just happens. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

Posts: 600 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
People often say "This is all there is." They're right about that. All the dual/non-dual, God/meat distinctions, maps and metaphors we tend use introduce more dualities into the equation. Dualities that are complicating and don't exist. If you're attempting to figure out the nature of existence by pondering it intellectually I think you're heading into a box canyon. What's going on is not conceptually grok-able. I agree that models help explain things to other people and they're fun to talk about, for sure. But at the end of the day, they're metaphors for that which is actually not conceptually understandable.
Agree with this 100%. What this is resembles (another metaphor that is wrong) an infinite space stretching in all directions. When you put up a fence like "physics" or "math" or "me", or in fact ANY conceptual idea or framework you are creating a fiction. There ARE no separate things, people, time or space - they are all fences in infinite space, and so guaranteed to be illusory. 
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Andromeda, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Towards a rational materialist understanding of the mind, the self and

Posts: 393 Join Date: 1/15/18 Recent Posts
I think I understand your goal: meat and God are one, but you can't experience that all the time and that's what you're trying to fix?

In my experience, this could not be resolved with the conceptual mind using language or paradigms. What helped me the most was investigating the sensations of tension, discomfort, the urge to conceptualize, etc. themselves. 

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